Little Stroke Warrior

Little Stroke Warrior
Posted on Tue 1 Sep 2020

Anika had her stroke in utero. We were giving her a bath for the first time when she had a seizure.

We were told the damage caused by the stroke was so significant that we should not expect much from her.  

Our lives took a massive turn when we got her diagnosis. We had a terrible time trying to find easy-to-understand information and work out what it all meant for Anika.  

At the hospital, we were given a referral to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance but we didn't understand why - no-one explained the link between the brain injury and CP. I was so distraught at the thought of Anika having CP, as well as the other potential long-term effects of the stroke (of which we had no idea). I almost didn't want to take Anika to her first appointment.  

Anika was 6 weeks old when we walked into CPA in East Maitland. I was a massive ball of emotions and nerves. I had no idea what to expect and I was terrified of anyone touching her. But our physiotherapist instantly made Kris and I feel at ease. I still remember her asking if she could hug Anika and I handed her straight over.  

Despite Anika receiving physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, we were still struggling with the fact that there was no information about paediatric stroke for parents.

So, alongside Ballarat parents Dee and Tawai Banks, we formed an organisation called Little Stroke Warriors Australia

With some brilliant support from the Stroke Foundation, we launched a printed and online resource for parents, family members, carers and friends – ‘Our Family Stroke Journey'. 

We hope no more families feel as lost as we did.  

There is still so much to do for families that are facing a Stroke diagnosis. For some kids, the time it takes to get a diagnosis and get access to services means a huge loss of therapy time. 

Early intervention is the key!

We need to work out how to get our kids diagnosed quicker, how to assist GP's in noticing the signs of stroke, supporting our families through the diagnosis (including mental health services) and how we can integrate kids into the school system. These are just a few things on the to-do list! 

A treatment for babies that suffer stroke, in whatever form it took, would help raise the profile of paediatric stroke and put a bigger focus on the issue for our medical practitioners.  

More importantly, treatment would provide a greater sense of hope: hope that we could reverse the effects of the stroke and hope that other children won't have to face such an uncertain future.  

So I guess from a really extraordinary start to life, Anika has led us on the most amazing journey - one filled with fear, love, hope and incredible pride. Going to CPA is the best thing we could have ever done for her.  

She turns four in September and is an incredibly capable little girl who knows no limits. Thanks to early intervention from CPA, she continues to defy her initial prognosis.  

If you would like to help babies that suffer a stroke, donate below:

There’s a new and exciting voice on Sydney's airwaves – Aaryan Shah, a 20-year-old university student and long-term part of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance community who hopes to one day host his own weekly sports show!

The 18th edition of the 20/twenty Challenge, Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s annual team fundraising event, was a massive success, raising almost $400,000 to purchase much-needed equipment and assistive technology for kids with cerebral palsy!

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